ipl2 Collection Policy

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Table of Contents


The Role of ipl2

See also: The Mission and Vision Statements of ipl2

The ipl2 is an educational, research, and service laboratory; two of its major roles are educating students at graduate schools of information and providing library services to internet users.

As part of the ipl2 service, students in ipl2 workshops select (credential) and maintain links to websites in the ipl2's major areas of concentration.


Purpose of Policy

  • To guide the students in the ipl2 workshop courses and collection volunteers in the selection of websites.
  • To inform the public about the principles upon which selections are made.

Definition of Selection

"Selection" refers to the decision that must be made either to add materials or to retain materials already in the collection.


Goal for Selection

ipl2's goal for selection is to maintain a balanced and broadly representative collection of websites for information, reference and research.


General Principles

See also: Statement of Principles

Materials to be added to the collections of the ipl2 are selected on the merits of a particular site in relation to the needs of the user community.

The user community for the ipl2 includes people of all ages, nationalities, occupations, and levels of education. The patrons' needs are the guiding factors when selecting materials.

Children's sites are usually included only in For Kids. Sites for teens are usually included only in For Teens.

English is the primary language of the ipl2. Its primacy does not preclude the selection of materials in foreign languages, especially in the foreign reference sources, newspaper, and magazine collections, but it is a guiding principle when selecting sites for inclusion in the general collections, For Kids, and For Teens.


Specific Principles for Selection

The following principles are applied to sites under consideration for inclusion in the ipl2:

Availability

  • Information should be freely available. ipl2 does not include sites that are fee-based or sell a product unless the site also offers important informational content for free.
  • There should ideally be no barrier for access to primary material on the site. Preference is given to sites that require no registration or subscription for access. (Example: An online journal site must provide article content and not just citation info and abstracts.)

Authority and Authorship

  • The site should contribute current, accurate information about the topic. The source of the material should be trustworthy and the website should have affiliation with recognized authorities in the field.
  • The author of the site should be identifiable, and should have contact information.
  • The site's author(s) should have a background in or credentials in the subject and be qualified to present the content provided.
  • The sponsoring organization(s) should have a background in or credentials in the subject and be qualified to present the content provided.
  • The author should provide sources for information that are not his/her own ideas.
  • That other authoritative websites link to or endorse this site may be considered, but should not be a primary consideration.

Content

  • Institutional sites that provide little or no actual content beyond contact information for the organization will not be included unless they meet a strong informational need for a large number of our users. Example: Relief organizations during Hurricane Katrina.
  • ipl2 does not collect individual schools or libraries unless the sites for these organizations have significant freely-available content, such as exhibits, bibliographies, or directories of useful resources.
  • Sites should be unique in features or content from sites on the same subject already in the ipl2.
  • Websites about major issues will ideally present contrasting viewpoints or have a point of view that balances other items in the collection. If the site provides opinion, rather than facts, these opinions should be clearly identifiable as such.
  • Site should be updated as appropriate to the subject area.
  • Links should lead to appropriate content.
  • Score from Alexa (http://www.alexa.com/), “linked to” in Advanced Google site or similar popularity data may be considered but generally should not be a primary consideration.
  • Content should be competently written, with few if any grammatical or spelling errors.

Legality

  • The author of the site's content should be legally entitled to present the content within copyright and fair use guidelines.
  • The content of site seems not to be plagiarized and adheres to U.S. copyright law.

Website Design and Functionality

  • Site design should be clear and well-organized, key features obvious, and directions easy to follow.
  • Contact info should be readily available.
  • The site should be available each time it is accessed (excluding rare technical issues).
  • Load time should be reasonable.
  • Key features (such as search) should work, and website should not display error messages (excluding rare technical issues).
  • If the site includes video and audio files, it should be clear what plug-ins are required to make them work, and the files should play.
  • For directories (sites that primarily provide links to other sites), a strong majority of the links should work.
  • The site should contain few or no interfering ads or pop-ups.
  • Sites with more than a few ads or pop-ups, or that have defects in design or functionality, can be included if they have a high level of authority and/or content, and if that content is freely accessible to all users.

The ipl2 does not include:

  • Sites or material that violate U.S. copyright law
  • Articles from journals or magazines, unless they are an excellent resource for providing background on a topic or explanations of a concept. 
  • Sites that are strictly commercial and have no informational content
  • Sites with extremist views
  • Erotica
  • Degree or course programs, university gateway pages, or homepages. Web pages from colleges or universities on specific subjects are welcome.
  • For-pay or subscription sites. The exceptions are:
    • The subscription is free
    • The site provides some free information to which the ipl2 has applied its criteria

The ipl2 collection policy has changed over time and may change again. Therefore, resources already in the ipl2 may no longer fit the collection policy and will be weeded out as time and staffing permit.

Additional selection criteria to consider. This additional selection criteria for certain types of resources, or resources in certain collections, is provided below.


Community-Edited Online Resources

Definition: ipl2 considers an online resource to be a community-edited online resource if the online resource allows users of the online resource to revise a significant amount of the existing content and/or contribute new content on one or more subjects.

The ipl2 does not consider feedback on the content, including ratings or comments, to be content unless the feedback itself is a significant source of content on one or more subjects.

Community-edited online resources must fit the Specific Principles for Selection mentioned above. Also, membership in the community must be restricted to those with demonstrated authority or expertise in the one or more subjects for which they are contributing information.

Community-edited online resources which do not restrict membership in this way should not be listed in the ipl2.
If only part of the website is a community-edited online resource that does not restrict membership to those with authority or expertise on the information that they are contributing, and there is a significant amount of information on other parts of the website that comes from those with authority and expertise, the website can be added. However, a brief disclaimer about the authority of the community-edited part of the website should be included in the description of the website.


Web Directories and Search Engines

Definitions

Web Directory

The ipl2 considers a web site to be a web directory if one of the primary functions of the web site is to list many external web sites under topics. A web site is external to another web site if the two web sites are not published by the same entity or organization. (One of the primary functions of the ipl2 web site is as a web directory.)

Search Engine

The considers a web site to be a search engine if one of the primary functions of the web site is to receive input (usually text) from users, search one or more indexes of online resources, and return results relevant to the user's input.

Criteria for Web Directories

Web directories that provide links to external web sites on several unrelated topics can be listed in the ipl2's Web Directories section if they meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • actively monitored and maintained
  • relatively free of commercial web sites or web sites selling products or services
  • unique (provide something new or better than what is already listed in this section of the ipl2)

Web directories that are on a single topic, or a set of closely related topics, can be listed under relevant subject headings within the ipl2 if they:

  • are mostly free of broken links
  • provide more than 20 links to external web sites that provide authoritative information
  • have “Web directory. ” provided at the front of the description of the resource

Unless otherwise stated above, sites in this collection should adhere to the Specific Principles for Selection that apply to the ipl2's overall collection.

Criteria for Search Engines

Search engines can be listed in the ipl2's Search Engines section if they meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • highly popular
  • highly useful
  • unique (provide something new or better than what is already listed in this section of the ipl2)

Magazines (Serials)

The ipl2 Magazine Collection lists online versions of magazines, newsletters and professional journals, as well as similar publications that exist only in electronic form, such as e-zines and e-journals.

To be considered for inclusion, the online version must include a significant number of articles or other information that are free to the general public, not just tables of contents and subscription information.

Unless otherwise stated above, sites in this collection should adhere to the Specific Principles for Selection that apply to the ipl2's overall collection.


Newspapers

The Newspapers collection lists online newspapers that feature regular news coverage of a particular geographic area.
In order to be considered for inclusion, the newspaper must offer some free, regularly updated news. Since this collection is global in scope, the newspaper does not have to be published in English to be included.

The names of geographic regions and countries are those established in the Library of Congress’s MARC Code List for Geographic Areas.

Although the collection is continuously expanding, the ipl2 makes no claim of it being comprehensive.

The following principles are applied to sites under consideration for inclusion in the Newspaper collection.

  • Balance in Point of View. In order to be considered for inclusion, the newspaper should make an effort in its editorial stance to maintain objectivity. While absolute objectivity may be impossible, the ipl2 attempts to avoid newspapers whose editorial stance is clearly in service of a specific ideology or partisan bias. For example, while the Washington Post is generally accepted as an objective news organization, the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) would not fit that description. In some cases, such as countries where the official news agency is state-controlled, the objectivity criterion is necessarily somewhat elastic.
  • Reliability/Frequency. Another criterion for inclusion is reliability and frequency. In order to be considered for inclusion, the newspaper must offer at least some free, regularly updated news content (it should not be a completely subscription-contingent web site), should be readily uploadable under normal Internet traffic conditions, and should be logically and easily navigable. Frequency can range from updating throughout the day, as many major newspapers do, or updating once a week or once a month, in the cases of less-frequently published newspapers. In general, if a newspaper’s site has not been updated in over three months, it should no longer be included.
  • Geographical Representation. As much as possible, the newspapers included in the collection should represent all regions of the world. If a newspaper falters in some of the other criteria for inclusion but helps give geographical balance, it may be included in the ipl2.

    In addition, the collection makes an effort to represent countries and/or territories that are in dispute. This policy will follow national boundaries as defined by the MARC Code List for Geographic Areas.
  • Language Inclusivity. As the collection is global in scope, a newspaper does not have to be published in English to be included. However, if the foreign-language newspaper is published within the United States, other criteria are also considered such as the newspaper’s having a WorldCat entry, its inclusion in ARL/CRL databases, and its size and the scope of the community that the newspaper serves.

Unless otherwise stated above, sites in this collection should adhere to the Specific Principles for Selection that apply to the ipl2's overall collection.


For Kids

The ipl2 provides children in grades 3-7 with information to further their interests as well as provide support for their educational needs. A very limited amount of information is included for preschool through grade 2. The ipl2 also provides materials to support parents and teachers in their work with children.

Links selected for For Kids should not have content or advertising  containing profanity or material that is sexually explicit or violent.
Unless otherwise stated above, sites in this collection should adhere to the Specific Principles for Selection that apply to the ipl2's overall collection.


For Teens

The ipl2 provides teens in grades 8-12 with information that supports their educational objectives, social needs and personal interests. For Teens provides current, authoritative information that is teen-friendly and toward teens.

Unless otherwise stated above, sites in this collection should adhere to the Specific Principles for Selection that apply to the ipl2's overall collection.


Literary Criticism

The ipl2 Literary Criticism Collection contains critical and biographical web sites about authors and their works.

Sites in this collection should adhere to the Specific Principles for Selection that apply to the ipl2's overall collection.


Blogs

The ipl2 selectively collects blogs according to the following criteria. Sites must:

  • Provide news & information, not an opinion (though highly informed gossip and opinions are acceptable) or provide a glimpse into what it is like to be a doctor, lawyer, librarian, etc.
  • Be authored by someone well-known in his/her field or someone qualified to discuss the subject of the weblog and/or be based on reputable sources
  • Provide a solid place to begin research in a particular area
  • Focus on a particular area, subject, occupation, hobby, etc.  
    • N.B. Sites can also be too specific, e.g., a blog devoted to a single American basketball team.
  • Have existed for at least a year (unless they are extraordinarily popular)

We would also like blogs that match the following criteria as well. However, it is not necessary that blogs on the ipl2 match the following criteria.

  • Have a high ranking on sites such as…
    • Technorati - a search engine that lists the number of times a particular blog has been linked to
    • Google Link - a service of Google that lists the number of sites, not just blogs, which link to a particular blog
    • Alexa - a web site that gives statistics and the number of visitors to a particular blog and how that number of visitors ranks out of all web sites
  • Have made the news in other media (print, TV, radio) because of their popularity
  • Made a respected and/or well-known "Best of…" or "Most Popular…" web sites or weblogs list
  • Frequently mentioned or linked to from other blogs
  • Have 1 or more comments per post

Unless otherwise stated above, sites in this collection should adhere to the Specific Principles for Selection that apply to the ipl2's overall collection.


Associations on the Net

This collection includes the official sites of various professional and trade associations, cultural and art organizations, political parties and advocacy groups, labor unions, and academic societies. National and international associations, as opposed to local chapters, are selected. Sites must offer more than just information on how to join or an address; rather sites should use the web environment to disseminate information.

Unless otherwise stated above, sites in this collection should adhere to the Specific Principles for Selection that apply to the ipl2's overall collection.


Native American Authors

Sites in this special collection provide information on Native North American authors with bibliographies of their published works, biographical information, and links to online resources including interviews, online texts, and tribal web sites.

Articles, Excerpts, Parts of Larger Works. The database contains articles from scholarly journals that have not been indexed in commonly-available academic journal indexes. Articles that appear as book chapters are also included. Newspaper articles are excluded.

Tribal Affiliation. The tribal authority for this database is the Tribal Leaders Directory, specifically section 5, "Index – Tribal Entities," (http://www.bia.gov/idc/groups/xois/documents/text/idc002652.pdf Adobe PDF) produced by the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs, a list of 564 federally-recognized American Indian Tribes and Alaska Natives and all the Regions, Agencies, and Offices within the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Unless otherwise stated above, sites in this collection should adhere to the Specific Principles for Selection that apply to the ipl2's overall collection.


POTUS

POTUS (Presidents of the United States) is a representative site about the American Presidency including biographies, speeches and writings, election results, odd facts and Presidency highlights. This site is owned and maintained by an ipl2 alumnus and is updated periodically by its owner and by ipl2 staff.

Unless otherwise stated above, sites in this collection should adhere to the Specific Principles for Selection that apply to the ipl2's overall collection.

 


Web Technologies

The ipl2 selectively collects web-based applications or tools according to the following criteria. These applications or tools must match the following criteria:

  • Be totally free.
    • Free registration is OK
    • Free trial period is NOT OK
  • Indicate any special requirements in ipl2’s description of the resource (e.g. "Free registration required.")
  • Require nothing to download in order to be used.
  • Have a privacy statement stating that private information is not shared, if private information of any kind must be shared in order for the resource to be used.
    • If financial, medical or other highly sensitive information is asked for, then the application or tool should be recommended by highly reputable organizations or magazines.
  • Should be easy and intuitive to use.
    • Have Help documentation or manual for specific and/or complicated tasks

We would also like web-based applications or tools that match the following criteria as well. However, it is not necessary that these applications or tools on the ipl2 match the following criteria.

  • Popular or Widely used
    • Written up or demonstrated at popular conferences/blogs/mass media publications
    • High level of downloads (looking for hundreds of thousands of downloads at least) and/or a high number of members (thousands at least)

Requests to Reconsider Resources

See also: Materials Reconsideration Policy

Libraries have traditionally supported the freedom of individuals to read and view materials of their choosing. In the case of children, the responsibility for decisions about appropriateness rests with parents or legal guardians. While we support the right of all users of the Library to reject materials for themselves, no user may attempt to censor materials for others.

The ipl2 is committed to the principles of intellectual freedom, and has adopted as policy the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement. These and other documents regarding intellectual freedom may be found on the ALA's Web site.

Users who wish staff of the Library to reconsider either (a) pointers to materials outside the Library's original materials or (b) materials created by members of the Library should submit requests using our Contact Form and they will be forwarded to the appropriate staff member, who will respond via email to such requests.


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